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These cold winter days sure have me craving comfort food. If your taste buds are yearning for some too, stop by the Best Chili in Town contest and bake sale this weekend.

Avoca Scout Troop 316 and Cub Scout Pack 316 will host the Best Chili in Town contest and bake sale from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, in the Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall, 742 Spring St. Trophies will be awarded for the hottest and best overall chili. For $5, guests may sample and judge each entry. Takeout containers of chili also will be available at 12:30 p.m. for $5 each.

Prior to the contest, the Scouts will celebrate Scout Sunday at the 10:30 a.m. Mass at Queen of the Apostles Parish, 715 Hawthorne St.

Queen of the Apostles news

Queen of the Apostles Parish will celebrate Candlemas and the Feast of St. Blaise this weekend. Before the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Feb. 2, the Rev. Phil Sladicka will bless candles on a table in the vestibule of the church, 715 Hawthorne St. The candles will be available for anyone who would like one.

In honor of the Feast of St. Blaise, Father Sladicka and Deacon Jim Rose will bless throats following the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturday, Feb. 2, and the 8 and 10:30 a.m. Masses on Sunday, Feb. 3, at the church.

The parish announces the following meetings: parish hall committee, 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, parish hall; social concerns/respect life committee, 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, rectory; pastoral council, 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, rectory; women’s guild, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, rectory, and worship committee, 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18, rectory.

VFW Auxiliary meeting

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8335 Auxiliary will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, at the post home, 915 Main St. President June Fitzgerald will preside.

Food pantry

Avoca Food Pantry will be open at 4 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 7 and 21, at Bethel United Methodist Church, 532 Main St. Food can be picked up in the rear entry of the building. Volunteers are needed to unload and distribute food at 1:30 p.m.

Phoenix fundraising cabaret

Phoenix Performing Arts Center will present “Let’s Go to the Movies,” a cabaret show, from 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Queen of the Apostles Parish Hall, 742 Spring St.

The show will include vocal, dance and instrumental performances along with acted scenes from various movies. Several acts are booked, but people of all ages are welcome to participate in the show. There is no auditions or participation fee, but performers do have to buy a ticket to the event.

Tickets are $20 and include a full course meal and beverages. The buffet-style dinner includes salad, chicken, beef, pasta, potato, vegetable and dessert. This is a BYOB event for guests 21 and over. To purchase tickets, please call or text message Lee LaChette at 570-991-1817. All proceeds will benefit the Phoenix Performing Arts Center’s scholarship fund for children.

Greater Pittston Little League registration

Greater Pittston Area Little League will conduct in-person registrations for the upcoming spring season from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Avoca-Dupont Little League field, 498 Commerce St.

The registration fees are free for T-ball, ages 4-6; coach pitch, $45, ages 6-9; minors, $75, ages 8-10, and majors, $75, ages 9-12. There is a $110 sibling maximum.

Please bring a copy of the player’s birth certificate along with three required proofs of residency. The first type would be a driver’s license; school, vehicle or employment records or insurance documents. The second type would be welfare/childcare, federal, state, local municipality, homeowner/tenant or military records or support payments. The third type would be voter registration, utility bill or financial, medical, internet, cable or satellite records. Online registration also is available at gplittleleague.com.

Any child who lives or attends school in Avoca, Dupont, Duryea or Pittston City is eligible to play for the Greater Pittston Area Little League.

Avoca Little League meeting

Avoca-Dupont Little League will hold its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Avoca Borough Municipal Building, 950 Main St. The agenda includes spring registration, player evaluations, opening day ceremonies, combining with the Pittston City and Duryea Little Leagues and regular league business. The public is invited to attend.

Refuse bills

Refuse invoices for 2019 have been mailed to residents. The fee schedule to have up to three bags collected weekly has not increased this year. It is as follows: $160 if purchased by Feb. 20; $165 if purchased between Feb. 21 and March 20; $175 if purchased between March 21 and April 20; $185 if purchased between April 21 and May 20, and $195 if purchased between May 21 and June 21. After June 21, all unpaid bills will be turned over to the magistrate.

Residents can pay their bill from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays in the Avoca Municipal Building, 950 Main St. Residents also can pay the fee via mail by sending a check made payable to Avoca Borough, c/o Therese Wrubel, 129 Factory St., Avoca, PA 18641.

Beginning Thursday, Feb. 7, Wrubel will have office hours from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 5 to 6 p.m. Mondays.

Avoca Borough encourages residents to mark the following dates on their calendars: Wednesday, July 10, white goods collection, and Monday, Sept. 23, bulk item/furniture pick up. If you need to dispose of a white goods item before or after the pickup, please call 570-451-0625 or 570-457-4947. If you need to dispose of a bulk item that is not normally collected with weekly garbage, please call J.P. Mascaro directly at 1-800-243-7575. Bulk items left curbside will not be collected unless arrangements are made with Mascaro.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the basement of the Queen of the Apostles rectory, 715 Hawthorne St. Use the sunroom entrance.

Happy birthday

Happy birthday to John Durkin and Bryan Russo, who will celebrate Feb. 4.

Happy birthday to Megan Armbruster and Judy Insogna, who will celebrate Feb. 6.

Happy birthday to Colleen Regan Velehoski, who will celebrate Feb. 9, and to siblings Lisa Tricarico, who will celebrate her special day Feb. 9, and to Jonathan Wrubel, who will celebrate his special day Feb. 27.

That’s about it for this week, my friends. Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Jackie Borthwick-Galvin writes about Avoca every week. To list a news item, email her at jborthwickgalvin@pittstonprogress.com or call 570-301-2171 by 5 p.m. Monday.